Social Media Marketing: Find Your Audience
In the October 2009 issue of Insulation Outlook, I shared with you the benefits of social media. While many readers have provided feedback in agreement with these benefits, most are left wondering: “If I set up a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Stumble Upon, Bing, and YouTube page, where will I find the time to update all this stuff?”
When I started writing this article back in the beginning of November, the answer was as simple as “use a social media integration site such as streamy.com.” However, that answer is no longer the best solution.
Since early November, something amazing has happened: social media collaboration among the 10 different types of social media. In layman’s terms, non-competing types of social media are allowing the comments from one site to be posted on the other site. What this means to you is that by strategically selecting only the social media most likely to generate leads, you can save time and money by linking all your sites to help eliminate duplication of your efforts, all while making multiple impressions on your target audience.
That said, before you get bogged down with how to manage social media, I strongly recommend two things:
- Learn about the 10 different types of social media.
- Develop a social media marketing strategy that best targets your audience segment.
Types of Social Media
Microblogging. Twitter is the best example of a microblogging site, because it allows you to say what is on your mind very briefly, typically in 140 characters or less. Even links to other sites are converted into smaller URLs automatically prior to sharing. Want to learn more about Twitter? Request a free copy of my Twitter Marketing Your Business e-book (see address at the end of this article).
Professional. LinkedIn has mastered this category. It is very exclusive and designed to help you network with the people who really make your professional industry move.
Purely Social. Facebook and Myspace are the best and worst because they allow a large number of creative applications. This causes social sites like Facebook and Myspace to have a vague purpose, which makes it difficult to identify a potential customer. You have to make it easy for your customers to find you, since you can’t identify them.
Video. YouTube has quickly become the standard component in social media. Video social media helps level the playing field for many small businesses with insulation and product videos, and if done well can create trust very quickly.
Bookmarking. Sites like StumbleUpon and Digg are leaders in bookmarking. Bookmarking sites add efficiency to your searches for useful information on the web. Not only do they make it easier for you to find information, they also make it easier for people interested in what you offer to find you.
Photo Sharing. Flickr and Picasa are king. Both do a great job of getting good search results for your photos, so it would be wise to keep an album of photos tagged with keywords related to your website.
Search. Google…need I say more? Okay. Yahoo!, Ask, Goodsearch, Dogpile, and Bing. Search sites are getting more and more powerful and granular, and are great for basic secondary market research.
Forums. Wikipedia is an example of a powerful forum. It is viewed by many as a great knowledge resource and is moderated with care. Well-run forums come with built-in trust because users know the moderator will drive conversations toward constructive usage.
City/Regional Weekly. Social media is going local. A great example of this is Outside.In, a site that helps locate local bloggers. Outside.In is a content aggregator; it shows content from both traditional media and blogs. You can’t contact the local bloggers directly through Outside.In; it’s just for locating them. You’ll want to visit the local blogs you find, start reading them regularly and leaving quality comments, and then eventually introduce yourself and start that relationship.
Gadget News and Review. Engadget and Gizmodo are on the forefront of this technology. Gadget blogs provide a sense of where hardware, software, and social interaction will intersect. They don’t describe this explicitly, but the devices are part of the equation and essential to forecasting and preparing for future trends. This knowledge plays a critical rule in the development of “the next big thing.”
Once you are familiar with the 10 types of social media, you must identify where your target audience is most likely to be found. Within the insulation industry, three major delivery segments exist: manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Each of these will most benefit from a different combination of social media tools, because each has a different target audience.
Delivery Segment Combinations
Manufacturing: Bookmarking, Video, Photo Sharing, Forum, Professional, and Gadget News and Review.
Distributors: Search, Professional, Purely Social, and City/Regional Weekly.
Retailers: Microblogging, Video, Sharing, Photo Sharing, Search, Purely Social, and City/Regional Weekly.
I will identify the combinations for each delivery segment one at a time in the next three articles in Insulation Outlook. In the meantime, take a look at the sites in this article and try to understand what is really happening with each.
- Insulation Outlook: www.insulationoutlook.com/io/article cfm?id=IO091002
- Microgeist: microgeist.com/2009/04/the-10-types-of-social-media-sites-you-need-to-be-on-and-why/
- American Marketing Association: www.marketingpower.com/ResourceLibrary/MarketingNews/Pages/2009/43/11_30_09/Social_Media.aspx
For those for you interested in receiving a FREE copy of my Twitter Marketing Your Business ebook, please e-mail Twitter@DIRInc.us